News bites: The Green Energy Collapse

From the GWPF, a collection of headlines:

Across the world, unsustainable subsidies for wind and solar are being cut back.—Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, 3 December 2010

The French government is planning to suspend feed-in tariffs for new photovoltaic installations above a capacity of 3 kilowatt hours for a period of four months, according to a draft decree discussed at a government meeting on Thursday. –-ENDS Europe, 7 December 2010

Solar developers are set to abandon France following the government’s recent announcement that it will freeze all new projects larger than 3kW in order to prick the “speculative bubble” building up around the industry. –ReCharge News, 6 December 2010

Germany will not guarantee that existing rules for feed-in tariffs for solar power will be continued after 2012, environment minister Norbert Roettgen said on Wednesday.—Reuters, 1 December 2010

According to Mr Eberhard Holstein of Vattenfall Europe Sales, the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources under the present regulatory environment in Germany will lead to a collapse of the power market. Mr Holstein at the Energy Brain days in Berlin said that “We need to decide whether we want a planned economy or market economy.” He said that should no changes be made to the current legal framework in Germany, then the country would have moved to a de facto planned economy.Steel Guru, 7 December 2010

Few will be surprised if the United Nations Cancun climate talks end in failure. The real surprise is that for the last two decades people seriously believed there was a realistic prospect of securing broad international agreement to restrict CO2 by all the major emitters. –Ruppert Darwall, The Wall Street Journal, 7 December 2010

Three years after he led the charge to require consumers to ditch their comfortable old incandescent lights in favor of those twisty CFL bulbs, Rep. Fred Upton now wants to be the man to help undo that law as the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. —Fox News, 7 December 2010

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latitude

You know Anthony, each and every one of those has one common underlying thread…
..desire to control

Douglas DC

The Green Bubble has burst, like a methane bubble from a fresh Cow pie….
Our own local economy has been under attack by the Wind industry, and
if, by some chance our local politicians can wake up and smell the sliced
prairie chickens, our great NE Oregon scenery won’t be left with post bubble
industrial debris….

LeeHarvey

Hey – you better call somebody about that mercury spill.

Lady Life Grows

Good for Upton for learning better. We ALL believe nonsense and make mistakes–but some of us can learn from and correct them while others persist in madness.
The faster we help our neighbors and reps to learn better, the better for the REAL “environment.” Ask any chemist what is the most magnificent chemical reaction of all, and he may tell you photosynthesis. Then ask him what CO2 will do for plant growth and food for man and beast.
Then ask any farmer whether crops do best in cool weather (Spring and Fall) or hot weather (summer).

PaulH

Don’t get too close to that broken CFL! A dose of mercury vapour was released into the surroundings, but at least you “saved” some electricity. ;->

DonK31

I remember playing with balls of Mercury in HS Chemistry class, rolling them around in my hands, like the other high achievers in my school. Maybe that’s my problem. 🙂

Jeremy

OT Funny, I had one of those CFLs blow out on me last night. It’s only been there for 3 years. The tube itself didn’t seem blown, but the internal ballast bit the dust hard, as evidenced by all the glue-like gunk blown out the sides and the smell of burnt electronics.
Yes, I’m going to throw it in the garbage.

eadler

I think that the issuance of the death certificate for Green Energy is premature. The country that will soon have the world’s largest economy, China, is on a track to expand green energy production by an enormous amount.
http://cleantechnica.com/2010/12/04/china-adding-500-gigawatts-of-renewable-power-by-2020/
China’s plan is to get a total of 500 Gigawatts of renewable energy on the grid by 2020. It explodes wind power from a mere 25 GW on the grid now, to a staggering 150 GW, a six-fold increase on the previous already ambitious plan.

Mike M

I promise I’ll do it Lee Harvey so can I please have my 100W incandescent light bulb back now?

latitude

Lady Life Grows says:
December 7, 2010 at 9:56 am
Good for Upton for learning better.
======================================
Lady, I honestly don’t see that Upton has learned a thing.
Before, the green liberals were making a huge noise/stink, so he thought he
was doing what it took him to get elected.
Now the tea party/conservatives is making noise, and he’s just doing what he thinks he needs to do to get elected.

Gayle

I hope you’re right! It would give me great pleasure to NOT see my slice of Kansas prairie polluted with the wind turbines that are being heavily promoted locally.

PhilinCalifornia

Might’ve been posted before on another thread as it came out yesterday but anyway, it looks like our Oscar and Nobel Prizewinning self-appointed Global Director of Research, the one that’s as dumb as a box of rocks, is back:
http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/06/al-gore-ethanol-environment-opinions-contributors-henry-i-miller.html

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

I have several old home heating thermostats with the mercury capsule switch, maybe even a few old mercury position-sensing switches. Plus one or two old mercury thermometers.
I can shut down any government building in an instant! Beware the deadly mercury vapor! Run away in fear from the tiny shiny drops of liquid metal!
Mwah-ha-ha-hah! ]:-)

Chuck

Wagging the Dog!

dave ward

Unfortunately there is no sign of common sense breaking out in freezing Blighty if this story is to be believed:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1336246/Britain-needs-20-000-wind-turbines-stick-green-targets.html
I’ve just checked the UK electricity industry summary page: http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm
And am not the least bit surprised to find that out of a total metered capacity of 2430MW we are currently(sic) getting a paltry 149MW….

Milwaukee Bob

Jeremy said at 10:07 am
Yes, I’m going to throw it in the garbage.
God be with you – – if you’re in San Francisco!

LarryD

CFLs are only good for their rated lifetime if the power is clean, and they’re not switched on and off a lot.
It should be made a meta-law, that anything Congress want’s to force the public to do, has to implemented by all of the civilian side of the Federal Gov. first. Want to phase out incandescent bulbs in favor of CFLs. First do for all the congressional buildings, judicial buildings, executive buildings.

Zan

Upton doesn’t need to do what’s needed to get elected, he has a very safe seat and hasn’t had any competition from the democrats in while.

Hube

Oh, it seems that the speculative bubble about AGW’s going to prick…

James Sexton

Three years after he led the charge to require consumers to ditch their comfortable old incandescent lights in favor of those twisty CFL bulbs, Rep. Fred Upton now wants to be the man to help undo that law as the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. –
========================================================
THAT IDIOT WANTS TO HOLD A GAVEL? He should thank his lucky stars the people of Michigan are a bit more forgiving(naive?) the the rest of the conservative world. He shouldn’t be in a position to make decisions for the rest of the country.

Curiousgeorge

RE: Incandescent bulbs. I’ve noticed in the last year or two, that incandescent bulbs seem to burn out far more rapidly than they used to, and I’m beginning to suspect that the quality of GE and Sylvania bulbs has been deliberately degraded in order to “encourage” purchase of CFL’s and/or LED bulbs. If anyone has any information in this regard, or is experiencing the same thing, I’d be delighted to know about it.

Viv Evans

Soo looking forward to the EUrocrats following the led of the USA in regard to the heat balls (incandescent lightbulbs to you and me)!

SM

Each and every one of these seven points is a blow against what I call “Greensturbation” – the practice of self-gratifying ones “Green urge” with someone elses money.
I have to admit, I didn’t think the CFL thing would fold so quickly. Yay….

Dan in California

Feed-in tariffs for wind power in the US are $.015 per KWh, about 1/2 of the cost of production from coal burners or nukes. But if I recall correctly, feed-in tariffs for solar power in Germany were at about $.34 per KWh. This is a ridiculous number and the solar power equipment manufacturing industry has been taken for a ride by government agencies.

Ed Caryl

Upton is too late. Incandescent bulb production has been shut down here in the US of A, and the jobs have gone to China.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/07/AR2010090706933.html

latitude

Curiousgeorge says:
December 7, 2010 at 11:47 am
==================================
George, look for commercial or long life bulbs. I get them on Ebay.
About the CFL bulbs. Do any of you guys know why one would constantly burn up?
I have a ceiling light that’s hard to get to. So I thought one of the CFL’s would work better because it would last longer. I went through 3 of them, in a little over one year.
The base will actually burn, smoke, and you can smell something burning.
I replaced it with an incandescent……

keith at hastings uk

The only CFL I like is in the bedroom, ‘cos when I turn it on in the morning it takes so long to get bright that its easy on the eyes and wakes me up like the sun rise.
Elsewhere I have gone over to halogen bulbs, that do save 30% energy/give more light for the same wattage (good for older eyes!), with ordinary incandescent for rooms one goes in and out of, like utility rooms or downstairs toilets. CFL useless for multiple short switchings. And CFL light colour is rather awful. Still, they are more or less given away here in UK. 10p each, thats about 16 cents. No doubt my taxes or electricity bill pays for the real cost.
I’m in favour of sensible ways of saving energy, irrespective of CO2 (non)issues

An Inquirer

Jeremy says: “I had one of those CFLs blow out on me last night. It’s only been there for 3 years.”
Wow! I have never had a CFL last any where near a year. You are fortunate to have yours last 3 years.

An Inquirer

Dan in California says @ December 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm. “Feed-in tariffs for wind power in the US are $.015 per KWh . . .”
You may have some misunderstandings about wind energy. The $.015 per kwh is the subsidy that the federal government gives to owners of wind-power electricity. In addition, the owners typically get breaks on property taxes — avoiding some property taxes altogehter — where as nuclear and coal-fired plants face the highest property tax rates. Moreover, in Idaho, for example, wind-generated rates are over 8 cents per kwh.

David

Here in the UK, supermarkets are practically GIVING away mercury-loaded ‘low energy’ lamps (actually energy companies ARE giving them away).
Of course, what has happened is a classic case of politicians being way behind the curve – while they were extolling the virtues of low energy lightbulbs, the industry was busy developing LEDs – ten times as efficient as low energy lamps and virtually everlasting. I always viewed low energy lamps as the ‘eight track stereos’ of the lighting world (instantly obselete) – but you know what politicians are like when they get an idea fixed in their heads – take CO2 for instance..!

William Holder

Mr. Watts. It appears Cancun has failed. Maybe common sense is finally prevailing. I have followed your blog for many years and your influence can not be underestimated. Thank you for your tireless efforts. William.

hell_is_like_newark

I work in the energy efficiency industry. I now refuse to specify solar PV systems. To fund the installations, the State of NJ created an artificial markets selling SREC’s. The utilities are required to buy an ever larger percentage of power from renewable resources (hydropower doesn’t count). The SREC’s have been bid up to hundreds of $$$ per megawatt. Since that program was put in place, electrical rates in my area when from about $0.12 per kWh to over $0.18. Its now cheaper per kWh to run a small natural gas fired generators than pull electricity from the grid. My tenants are having a hard time affording their energy bills now (I made the apartments as efficient as possible). Green energy is making us poor!
Now I wonder, when the fiat SREC market is finally done away with (its not sustainable), what will happen to all those who depend on the revenue stream to pay for those panels? Without SREC’s the millions in financing provided to put panels on homes will no longer have a revenue stream to pay back that financing.
I want no part of it…..

hotrod ( Larry L )

latitude says:
December 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Curiousgeorge says:
December 7, 2010 at 11:47 am
==================================
George, look for commercial or long life bulbs. I get them on Ebay.
About the CFL bulbs. Do any of you guys know why one would constantly burn up?
I have a ceiling light that’s hard to get to. So I thought one of the CFL’s would work better because it would last longer. I went through 3 of them, in a little over one year.
The base will actually burn, smoke, and you can smell something burning.
I replaced it with an incandescent……

The problem is heat build up in a ceiling fixture. The CFL bulbs in my experience work best in very well ventilated light fixtures like the torchiere style floor lamps or the old style lamp with the slightly conical (cylindrical) shade open at top and bottom.
http://www.amazon.com/Boston-Harbor-TL-AP-3000-Torchiere-Floor/dp/B000L8BLT0
I have some CFL bulbs I use in the living room and my computer room which are left on for hours at a stretch in this type fixture, and they have been problem free for over 2.5 years. I use the daylight bulbs which do not have the sick green color, and they work just fine for me.
One note, I have found that it appears some (all?) of these bulbs have a thermal over protection circuit in the base. If they get too hot, they shut off, and appear to be dead. If you let them cool completely to room temp and put them back in they will work fine most of the time. This is what clued me into the heat issue.
Do not use CFL bulbs in inverted fixtures like a ceiling light that restricts airflow to the base of the bulb and traps heat.
I also have had horrible luck with the Sylvania CFL bulbs. Several of them died very quickly. I never buy their CFL bulbs any more as a result.
Larry
[“Turn on only once, leave on ever hence” seems to yield longest life. Robt]

Dan in California

An Inquirer says: December 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm
Dan in California says @ December 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm. “Feed-in tariffs for wind power in the US are $.015 per KWh . . .”
You may have some misunderstandings about wind energy.
————————————————————–
I was trying to simplify it. My message is that Germany, Spain, and Japan have had unsustainable subsidies that skewed entire global industries. But I get your point on property taxes. Kinda like the difference between freight railroads that pay property taxes on their land, while gov’t owned commuter railways do not pay taxes.

DirkH

Reducing the subsidies for PV is the only way to force the industry to become cheaper. It forces them to optimize their production processes and reduce the amount of energy spent upfront in the creation of solar cells. Thus, we’ll end up with some bankrupcies and concentration processes in the industry but also solar cells that reach energetical break even earlier.
Don’t bet on total eradication of solar cells – it’s a “hype – crash – steady growth” scenario. We’re in the crash phase now. Same for batteries – as it slowly emerges, noone wants to buy an electric car. Shares of battery companies start to suffer, and cries for subsidies get louder (but will not be heeded, as countries are cash-strapped and AGW turns out to be a non-problem).

James Barker

I use CFLs outside in my porch lights. They seem to be lasting 3-4 years. One has been there for 5. I never turn them off. They do get fairly dim when it gets really cold. <10 F. The incandescent lamps (60W) would only last about 3-6 months and I allowed the daylight switches to function with them.

John M

eadler says:
December 7, 2010 at 10:16 am
Great source you’ve provided there. But ignoring the maoist, anti-democratic undertones that only a fat comfortable rich westerner can espouse (“There actually are some big advantages with one-party rule”) let’s look at the specific facts.
500 GW of “renewable” electricity capacity by 2020, most of which is hydroelectric, which is among the gazillions of things on the list that enviros hate. The 500 GW is from an existing “renewable” portfolio of about 215 GW.
Let’s put that in perspective—
“The Chinese government envisages thermal [i.e fossil fueled] installed capacity will reach 1,000 GW by 2020 up from 652 GW in 2009 and will represent about two-thirds of the total capacity. ”
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/China/Electricity.html
So the “exploding” wind power going from 15 GW to 150 GW is dwarfed by the increasing use of fossil fuels, and even the increase in evil hydro will be outrun by the increase in evil coal.
And your democracy hating pal has the balls to write: “If there is one country we climate hawks should be happy is not run like America, it is China. Because China is the world’s factory. And carbon emissions from the world’s factory are about to get lower. And that is a good thing.”
Well, there’s one thing in China’s favor, using a fairly generous capacity factor of 30%, that “exploding” wind capacity won’t get anywhere near enough to disrupt their energy grid, especially since most of it will be built where there’s no power lines to feed it into the national grid.

I think that the issuance of the death certificate for Green Energy is premature. The country that will soon have the world’s largest economy, China, is on a track to expand green energy production by an enormous amount.
http://cleantechnica.com/2010/12/04/china-adding-500-gigawatts-of-renewable-power-by-2020/
“China’s plan is to get a total of 500 Gigawatts of renewable energy on the grid by 2020. It explodes wind power from a mere 25 GW on the grid now, to a staggering 150 GW, a six-fold increase on the previous already ambitious plan.”
Cue the “Beat the Clock” theme music…
Start Narration:
Let’s do the MATH on the Chinese plan and see how “real” it is. Northern States Power of MN (now “Xcel energy”) has had 100 MW of wind in the western part of the state for almost 20 years.
Production figures show an average of 8.7 MW continuous.
Barring arguments about availability, let’s take a 12 to 1 factor as the amount of wind turbines need to produce 1 unit of power.
Thus 125,000,000,000 Watts would take 1,500,000,000,000 watts of installed capacity.
Now at 1 MW per turbine, that’s 1,500,000 wind turbines.
It so happens the going price is about $2,000,000 per turbine. Thus the cost of this effort will be: 3,000,000,000,000, THREE TRILLION DOLLARS !!!!
It is quite obvious, therefore, that China intends to “call the debt” and insist we repay at once. WHOOPS, default and WWIII on economic grounds. Bad, BAD, BAAAAD environmentalists. Causing WWIII because of your wind power.
By the way, every 1.414 mile by 1.414 mile (2 square miles) there will be a wind turbine. I’m absolutely CERTAIN there will be no cummulative effect, and stalling of the normal winds across China will not occur! (NOT!!!!!!)
Some sneaking suspicion has me saying: “624 Major coal plants for the next 15 years, 100 nuclear plants for the next 20 years, and the 100 major GAS TURBINES on order from GE and Siemens being shipped TO China in the next 3 years, MIGHT, just MIGHT be the real plan?”
Max

Douglas

eadler says: December 7, 2010 at 10:16 am
I think that the issuance of the death certificate for Green Energy is premature. The country that will soon have the world’s largest economy, China, is on a track to expand green energy production by an enormous amount
——————————————————————————–
Eadler. Get real – China is building coal fired power stations at the rate of 2 a WEEK!!
It might have the world’s largest economy one day – but is won’t be powered by green energy. If you believe the crap in your reference the only thing green about your post is the writer.
Douglas

harrywr2

hell_is_like_newark says:
December 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm
” Without SREC’s the millions in financing provided to put panels on homes will no longer have a revenue stream to pay back that financing. ”
In Washington State the feed in subsidy on solar is ‘net’. I.E. To get anything you have to run your meter backward for the entire month. The result is that even with a 54 cent/KW feed in tariff almost no one gets any money but the solar panel company.

George E. Smith

“”””” PaulH says:
December 7, 2010 at 9:57 am
Don’t get too close to that broken CFL! A dose of mercury vapour was released into the surroundings, but at least you “saved” some electricity. ;-> “””””
Well I doubt it. How much electricity was used to make that thing in the first place ?
And I have it on good authority, that the vapor pressure of mercury is quite low; so unless the lamp was thoroughly warmed up by the time you shattered it, you are likely to get a tiny drop of liquid mercury. Better save it, just in case you need to dissolve some sodium metal in water to make your own Sodium Hydroxide.
Much safer to do if you prepare a sodium amalgam first, and then you can toss that in the water with impunity. The nice thing about it is that you will get your mercury drop back again all nicely polished and shiny new; so you can re-use it.
It’s pretty much the same recipe as making “Stone” soup; you know, you boil up the stone in nothing but water; and add accoutrements like beef and barley and carrots and garlic etc; jut to get the taste right mind you ! And then you can remove the stone and wash it so it is ready for next time.

mamapajamas

keith at hastings UK: re: “CFL useless for multiple short switchings. And CFL light colour is rather awful.”
Flourescent light is, quite frankly, green. This can work nicely in a room if you have the right colors to blend with green light, but if not, it’s garish.
I know this because I do photography as a hobby, and taking photos in ambient light, without the camera’s flash unit, has shown me a lot about lighting.
The biggest surprise I got was when I took some pictures of some red-haired people under flourescent light. The color looked somehow “drained” to me, and when I zoomed in on the images, I saw GREEN streaks… olive green… in that RED hair! Green streaks in red hair are OK in abstract art. Not in photos of people. Lighting that can cause that much change in the spectrum is intrusive. I had to use a graphics app to correct the color in the pictures to resemble something more “normal”.
This is the reason why, when you look into a mirror in a public bathroom with cheap flourescent fixtures, you look Night of the Living Dead. It’s because the lighting is green.
Photos taken under incandescent light have ALMOST the same problem… the images turn out more “orange” than they should be. BUT the difference is that orange does not make you look like you should have been buried sometime last week. Orange is actually a pretty flattering hue on most skin tones. It’s the background stuff, like furniture, draperies, and other stuff that might be in the blue range that gets badly nailed by orange lighting. You just have to make a decision about whether you’re photographing the people or the room.
I don’t have any experience with photographing under halogen lighting, but I’d be interested in seeing what comes out of it. 🙂

Douglas

eadler says: December 7, 2010 at 10:16 am
I think that the issuance of the death certificate for Green Energy is premature. The country that will soon have the world’s largest economy, China, is on a track to expand green energy production by an enormous amount
—————————————————————————
Eadler. Get real – China is building coal fired power stations at the rate of 2 a WEEK!!
It might have the world’s largest economy one day – but is won’t be powered by green energy. If you believe the crap I your reference the only thing green about your post is the writer.
Douglas

Kforestcat

Gentlemen
Lord. The Republican steering committee gave Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan) the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee. I can’t think of a worse choice. See announcement at: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/46097.html#ixzz17TVlUeuP
In much better news, POLITICO announced that the steering committee picked Rep. Ralph Hall (Texas) to become the next of the House Science and Technology Committee. Rep. Hall said at a hearing last month that the documents exposed a “dishonest undercurrent” within the scientific community.
I think Ralph’s a good pick for four reasons: 1) He has a reputation for integrity; 2) he’s well liked by his peers; 3) He’s a good deal smarter than he lets on; and 4) He has more than enough experience to maneuver through the congressional maze. See announcement at: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/46101.html#ixzz17TTrmXuN
Regards,
Kforestcat

Doug Badgero

The economic value of renewable energy is usually less than its cost of production. Therefore, we will end it or it will end us. Also, I live in Upton’s district (Southwest Lower Michigan) he is in no danger. From everything I can tell, he is a scientifically, technologically illiterate politician…………just like most (all?) of them.

Kforestcat

Gentlemen
In my post above the 2nd paragraph should have read:
“…picked Rep. Ralph Hall (Texas) to become the next CHAIRMAN”
and
“Rep. Hall said at a hearing last month that the CLIMATE GATE documents exposed a “dishonest undercurrent” within the scientific community.”
Sorry folks, I’ve got dyslexia.
Kforestcat.

Retired Engineer

Before ‘modern’ electronic ballasts, florescent lights had two dominant colors, red and green. You could wiggle a pencil in such light, at the right speed and see this. I have a 300 fps camera that does a great job of splitting old f.l.’s into their basic colors. New electronic ballasts ‘flicker’ at 20 kHz or so, much harder to separate color components. But the same applies. It ain’t white light.
Not sure why y’all get such short life on CFL’s. Mine last 7+ years, at least the older ones. New ones, made in the PRC are another matter. Electronics quit. Made from the cheapest parts on the planet. That’s an indictment of the supplier, not the process. And the new ones take forever to warm up. Squiggley does not work as well as the original U-shape tubes. Probably cost less to produce, so that’s why they look stupid.
Curiousgeorge: Check your line voltage. Above 120 (in the U.S.) incandescents die very quickly.
Although it has been the Hottest Year in the History of the Universe, right now it is colder ‘n h— outside. Some good incandescents would help.

Michael Sphar

As a child my father had a jar containing about 5 lbs of mercury that I used to stick my hands in and play on the floor with. My parents never objected. I use to play with it for hours.
/sarc on
My fingers didn’t start dropping off until I turned 60
/sarc off

Robert Austin

The dirty little secret of CFL’s is that they can’t take the heat that incandescent bulbs take so many of your existing fixtures, especially ceiling fixtures, are unsuitable and need to be replaced with fixtures compatible with CFL’s. Of course, the various governments touting CFL’s to save electricity (money) are mum on this issue.

Roger Knights

latitude says:
December 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Curiousgeorge says:
December 7, 2010 at 11:47 am
==================================
George, look for commercial or long life bulbs.

I’ve seen them sold as “industrial” bulbs.